News From Around The Bar

Judge Tonya Parker receives Dallas Bar Association Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award

ParkerJudge Tonya Parker, of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas, received the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award from the Dallas Bar Association. Parker received the award during the 28th Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon January 18 via Zoom. “Judge Parker has the intellect, judgment, drive, and commitment to accomplish anything she sets out to do,” DBA President Aaron Tobin said in a press release. “Fortunately for us, she has unselfishly chosen to focus her tremendous talent and skill on serving our local community. Judge Parker is incredibly deserving of the DBA’s MLK Justice Award.” The Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award is presented to local leaders whose lives and practices exemplify the principles embodied by King’s leadership.

Genora K. Boykins elected as South Texas College of Law Houston Board of Directors chair-elect

BoykinsGenora K. Boykins, a 1985 alumna of South Texas College of Law Houston, was elected chair-elect for the law school’s board of directors. She is the first woman and African American to hold this position at the law school. Boykins has served on the South Texas College of Law Houston Board of Directors since March 2012. She will serve a five-year term as board chair. “I am humbled and excited by this opportunity to provide leadership for STCL Houston during this important period in the history of our law school and the legal profession,” Boykins said in a press release. “I look forward to building on the solid foundation established by my predecessors and working with the board and Dean [Michael F.] Barry to increase the endowment and financial resources needed to ensure the success of our students and future leaders as we innovate, transform, and adapt in the rapidly changing landscape of legal education.” Boykins was regional assistant general counsel to NRG Energy, Inc., and Reliant Energy for 31 years. She retired from NRG in 2018 but continues in a part-time role supporting the Reliant Charitable Foundation, Community Relations, and Sports Marketing teams. “I am delighted at the election of Genora Boykins as chair-elect of the South Texas College of Law Houston Board of Directors,” said Barry, president and dean of South Texas College of Law Houston, in a press release. “This is a momentous occasion for STCL Houston, as one of our distinguished graduates—esteemed both in the legal and philanthropic communities in Houston—takes the helm of our board on the cusp of the school’s 2023 centennial celebration. As the first woman and African American to hold this important leadership role, she is a true trailblazer and inspiration for South Texas’ diverse and forward-thinking community.” For more information about South Texas College of Law Houston, go to

Aaron Tobin elected Dallas Bar Association president

TobinAaron Z. Tobin, a trial attorney and named partner in Condon Tobin Sladek Thornton Nerenberg, was elected Dallas Bar Association president for 2021 and was inaugurated as the Dallas Bar’s 112th president in January. He joined the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors in 2012 and served as chair of the board in 2017. Tobin has served as chair of numerous Dallas Bar Association committees, including the Finance Committee, Morris Harrell Professionalism Committee, Public Forum Committee, and Bench Bar Committee. He also served as co-chair of the 2012-2013 Campaign for Equal Access to Justice. Tobin is a Dallas Bar Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation fellow and a Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation life fellow. Other officers serving on the board include Kristina “Krisi” Kastl, of Kastl Law (president-elect); Cheryl Camin Murray, of Katten Muchin Roseman (vice president); Bill Mateja, of Sheppard Mullin (second vice president); Ebony Rivon, of Rivon Law Firm (secretary/treasurer); and Robert Tobey, of Johnston Tobey Baruch (immediate past president). For more information about the Dallas Bar Association, go to

MOU signed to improve cross-border education

In an event many called “historic,” the El Paso Bar Association signed a memorandum of understanding with two Mexican bar associations to improve cross-border education and understanding as well as expedite transactional legal services on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border. The MOU was signed live via Zoom on December 9 by representatives from the El Paso Bar, the Barra y Colegio de Abogados de Ciudad Juárez, and the Asociación Nacional de Abogados de Empresa, Sección Chihuahua. State Bar of Texas President-elect Sylvia Borunda Firth served as a witness to the signing, remarking that to her knowledge it is the first agreement of its kind. “I’m proud that our legal community on the border has come together to serve as an example of how we can work and learn together,” Borunda Firth said, adding she looks forward to many great projects and initiatives to come out of the relationship. The full presentation and signing of the MOU can be viewed on the El Paso Bar Association’s Facebook page.

Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers launch mentorship program

The Dallas Bar Association and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers are launching the 2021 STEER program, a mentorship program that focuses on cultivating relationships and providing substantive and practical legal advice. STEER, or Stability Tools for Employment and Economic Resilience, is aimed at attorneys in the first three years of practice and recent law school graduates. Participants are matched based on practice area, practice goals, and other criteria. Mentors and mentees will meet in large and small groups (virtually as needed) several times throughout the year. To apply and for more information, go to

Texas Bar forms online portal to connect volunteer lawyers and Texans in need

The State Bar of Texas has partnered with justice tech company Paladin to launch an online portal designed to help attorneys find volunteer opportunities and assist Texans with their legal needs. The Pro Bono Opportunity Portal will make it easy for lawyers and law students to search, learn about, and volunteer for matters suitable to their interests and skills and to connect directly with the referring agency to get started. “Texas lawyers are committed to assisting Texans in need and this portal provides an easy, centralized search feature that helps volunteer lawyers statewide find the perfect service opportunities,” said Trish McAllister, director of the State Bar of Texas Legal Access Division and executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The portal, which launched in January, is available at


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